1. Mr. J. Wells
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimate has been made of the cost to farmers in England and Wales of providing new facilities for effluent disposal as a result of the Rivers (Prevention of Pollution) Act 1961.
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. James Scott-Hopkins)
No worthwhile estimate of such costs is possible as the circumstances of farms vary so much.
Is my hon. Friend aware that this new Act is causing great concern to farmers in many parts of the country? I appreciate that my hon. Friend says that there is wide variation from farm to farm, but there is also wide variation from river 2 authority to river authority. Farmers everywhere in low-lying land are most concerned about this. Will my hon. Friend try at an early date to give some assurance to the farming community that they will not be unreasonably persecuted by the river authorities?
§ Mr. Scott-Hopkins
I understand my hon. Friend's concern. I have no doubt that the river boards will use their discretion in imposing conditions which farmers will have to meet before continuing to discharge effluent into streams.